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Hogansville seeks new architect for Royal Theatre project

The City of Hogansville announced at its council meeting Tuesday that it will need to seek a new architect for the Royal Theatre revitalization.

City Manager Jonathan Lynn stated that the current architect’s staff, Carter Watkins, intends to retire and will  not be able to complete the Royal Theater project or take on any additional work.

Watkins was originally slated to provide three phases of the Royal Theatre project: the design phase, the construction documents phase and the actual construction phase as part of the agreement signed by his company and the city in October 2018.

“The only phase that they will not be able to complete for the city is the construction phase, which they have yet to be compensated for,” Lynn explained.

In order to complete the grant deadlines set for the project, Lynn requested that the city put out bids to continue the project, to which the city voted to agree.

The original costs of the award-consulting agreement with Watkins was $99,500, and the remaining 15 percent of that amount would be approximately $14,925. Such funds would be SPLOST allocations.

The project will cost a total of $2 million to complete. So far, the city has secured $724,000 in SPLOST funds, $200,000 from a USDA grant, $25,000 from the Callaway Foundation and $3,250 in local donations. The city is also attempting to secure funding from two additional grant agencies that would bring its total commitment to $2,002,250.

“If everything goes the way we hope, we hope to have the project complete by June 2023,” Lynn said.

The Royal Theatre previously served as the city council’s city hall and meeting quarters before being relocated to their current location at 111 High Street.

In other business at the meeting, the council held a public hearing to hear comments on the millage rate, which has not changed in several years.

The council also held a public hearing to hear comments on annexation rezoning of Bass Cross Road Developments and approved the annexation, rezoning and map amendments for the development. The development on Bass Cross Road is 398 housing units planned on approximately 161 acres.

Citizens who spoke at the public hearing expressed concerns on traffic and water runoff, which the developers addressed.

The council voted to approve a variance request for Mallard Lake Subdivision.

The council amended its gas agreement with LaGrange to allow for Hogansville to be able to provide wholesale natural gas to government entities, per city documents. This will not impact the city’s ability to provide gas to its customers. The council approved unanimously a utility meter purchase approval for 3,529 meters at the cost of $473,909. The new meters would be radio read meters and would allow for a remote termination of electrical services for non-paying customers. 

Council members voiced concerns on the cost of the meters, which would be spread through two budget years, Lynn said.